David "Bubba" Johnson, 52, died Sunday night after his vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -
A Montgomery County sheriff's deputy who was killed on duty in a crash Sunday night is being remembered as a great officer, who was an even better human being.
David "Bubba" Johnson, 52, died after his vehicle veered off a road in the Clarksville city limits and struck a tree.
The accident happened just before Midnight on U.S. Highway 41A near Avondale Drive.
Deputy Johnson had begun his evening patrol shift at 10 p.m. Sunday, according to Montgomery County Sheriff John Fuson.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating, but a preliminary report cited "unknown reason" as to why the deputy's vehicle left the roadway.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, Sheriff John Fuson described Deputy Johnson as an officer who "touched a lot of folks and meant a lot to a lot of people. He was a fantastic individual."
While the sheriff remembered how he and Deputy Johnson once worked the night shift together, he added. "this is going to take a lot to get over this. I can say we lost one of the great law enforcement officers of our time."
The sheriff's words were echoed by Clarksville Police Chief Al Ansley.
"The greatest compliment I could give to Deputy Johnson was that if you needed him, you could guarantee that he was there," the chief said at the news conference. "But most of all he was a damn good human being."
Both the sheriff and the police chief said the officer's demeanor of always smiling and laughing was perfect for law enforcement.
"He was even nicknamed Barney Rubble of the Flintstones because of that laugh," added Sheriff Fuson with a smile.
Johnson was a 16-year veteran of the sheriff's office.
He worked for the Clarksville Police Department for 11 years prior and before that worked for the Montgomery County Emergency Medical Services.
Deputy Johnson leaves behind a wife, a daughter and a brother who also works for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in its processing division.